For the third time since taking up office, Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel was in the United States for talks on Tuesday (29 August). He discussed pressing issues and crises in international politics with his counterpart Rex Tillerson. One key issue was the tense situation on the Korean Peninsula. Gabriel spoke to Henry Kissinger about the dangers of nuclear armament.
The time for diplomacy
North Korea’s nuclear programme, the situation in Afghanistan, the crisis in Qatar, the nuclear agreement with Iran and the US sanctions against Russia: Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel and his American opposite number Rex Tillerson agreed at short notice to meet to discuss these important issues. “Now is the time for diplomacy”, said Foreign Minister Gabriel ahead of his departure for Washington, DC, referring to the agenda.
“America is Europe’s most important ally”
“For this we need to work closely with Washington”, added Gabriel. For: “Even though we have not always been on the same wavelength recently: America is Europe’s most important ally.” He stressed that especially in these difficult times it was crucial to seek a dialogue. The meeting in Washington was Gabriel’s third encounter with his colleague. They also had talks on the sidelines of the G20 Foreign Ministers Meeting in Bonn and the G20 Summit in Hamburg.
Focus on North Korea
The meeting between the two ministers focused on the tense situation in North Korea. Gabriel emphasised that North Korea had still not understood that there was agreement in the international community that the missile tests and the nuclear programme had to stop. It was therefore right that the UN Security Council was meeting once more to discuss this issue.
The nuclear agreement with Iran was also on the agenda. Gabriel stated that Germany was keen to see the agreement upheld. To that end, the Iranian side would have to ensure that every detail of the agreement was implemented. This objective should be pursued together with the United States.
Referring to the US Congress sanctions against Russia, he went on to say that there should also be close coordination between the United States and the European partners in other areas. “There should be no new ice age between Russia and the West”, said Gabriel. At the same time, it was important to continue trying to achieve a lasting ceasefire in eastern Ukraine.
Meeting with Henry Kissinger: Supporting the Global Zero Initiative
After his talks with Tillerson, Gabriel met former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. “It’s good to talk to someone who has been observing the international situation for a very long time”, said Gabriel. The discussion focused on the danger of nuclear armament. Gabriel stated that more and more countries were accessing nuclear weapons. He went on to say that the case of North Korea showed how dangerous this situation was for the whole world.
Henry Kissinger has been campaigning for a world without nuclear weapons for many years with the Global Zero Initiative. “We should all support this Initiative”, stressed Gabriel. He added that more had to be done to stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons, for: “Unfortunately, the risks Kissinger describes are more than realistic”.
Next stop Paris
After leaving Washington, Gabriel headed for Paris where he is taking part in a session of the French Cabinet and attending the opening of the French Ambassadors Conference.